I want to highlight my visit to Lisbon where there is colour everywhere – be it the tile-clad buildings, with their brightly painted doors, the trams, the daily laundry flapping in the breeze or the beautiful artwork and patterns in the individual tiles themselves.
Portugal is well known for its beautiful tiles (also called azulejos). The story of these date back to Moorish times of the 13th century.
Some antique tiles were simply blue and white patterns but there are many tiles telling a story of the past. Lisbon’s history, religion and culture can be seen in the tiles found imbedded into walls, in museums, monasteries and churches. Lisbon’s Museu des Ajuleos is well worth visiting and my post can be viewed here. https://thehappysnapper.org/portugal-lisbon-museu-do-azulejo/
Birds, leaves and flowers as well as animals and nautical themes also feature in the older tiles.
Other colours began to be used in the 18th century and geometric shapes became more common.
Today, tiles are used to decorate entire buildings, restaurants, bars, railway stations, palaces and in murals along roadways and in parks. They also feature inside shops and people’s homes.
The 19th Century saw buildings decorated in art-nouveau and art-deco styles. This is evident in the incredible facade of the Largo Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro building in the Chiado district. The yellow and orange tiles depict mythological images of Earth, water, Science and Agriculture.
Viuva Lamego, built in 1865 was once a pottery workshop and is now a ceramics factory.
This façade is covered in tiles dating from 1918. This business used tiles to indicate the purpose of the building, that is to produced scales.
Many of the buildings in Lisbon are very old and the tiles are showing signs of wear. Some old tiles have fallen off, while others are replaced with replicas or even completely different tiles. This all makes up the unique character of these buildings. Lots of great photographic opportunities here.
Of course there are many amazing windows and doors surrounded by both old and new tiles.
Take note of all those decorative balconies as well.
Colour is everywhere, but none more so than seeing the daily laundry hanging from these balconies. There are even tiles with such scenes.
As renovations take place, some of the buildings are covered in very modern tiles. They are often bright coloured and stand out.
However I think it is the old “stuff” that visitors are attracted to in this city, especially in the older areas such as Alfama.
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